By Cindy Long
Amber McCoy, a fourth grade teacher at Kellogg Elementary in Huntington, West Virginia, has 16 years’ experience under her belt, but still makes just $44,000 a year. She also has about $40,000 left in student loans to pay off. McCoy has worked as a tutor, pet sitter, and Amazon customer service rep to make ends meet.
In February 2018, she decided enough was enough and joined thousands of her fed-up colleagues across the state in launching a successful nine-day work stoppage.
“[It] was our last resort, but it raised public awareness about persistent low pay,” McCoy says.
The average salary in West Virginia is $45,642, one of the lowest in the nation. The national average teacher salary, adjusted for inflation, has decreased 4.5 percent over the past decade, according to NEA Ranking of the States 2018 and Estimates of School Statistics 2019, released this week.
“Across the nation educator pay continues to erode, expanding the large pay gap between what teachers earn and what similarly educated and experienced professionals in other fields earn,” says NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.